Food cans in the US are almost all BPA free, says industry body

More than nine out of every ten food cans sold in the US are lined with coatings that are not derived from the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA), says the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI).

And that proportion is set to increase, adds the CMI, as the industry listens to consumers who have concerns about BPA despite research studies that show it is not a threat to human health.

“We listened to consumers and developed can linings that are completely different from their predecessors,” said Robert Budway, president of the CMI. “They achieve our top priority of safety while maintaining the quality and freshness of food without using BPA.

“Canmakers and can lining companies take very seriously our responsibility to provide safe, quality packaging that consumers trust. Safety is our number one priority and we’re proud to contribute to a healthy, affordable food supply in a way that reduces food waste and respects the environment.”

Most food can linings are now typically made from acrylic and polyester materials, which are extensively tested, analysed and cleared by regulatory agencies before they are taken to market, says the CMI.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently reported on conclusions from the Consortium Linking Academic and Regulatory Insights on BPA Toxicity (Clarity-BPA), saying that a recent study on rodents shows ‘minimal effects’.

However, over the years, the FDA has in effect acknowledged the concerns of the campaigners by continuing to review research and has ratcheted down the recommended maximum exposure levels to BPA in packaged foods. Some authorities have banned the material for applications such as in infant-formula cans.

In the statement, the CMI emphasised the impressive safety record of canned foods, that despite reports of 3,000 deaths and more than 40,000 hospitalisations from food borne illnesses every year, there has not been a single reported case of food borne illness from the failure of metal packaging in more than 40 years.